American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

MCM: The Biggest AG Discount Sale That Happens Once a Year

AG Dolls at Rock Bottom prices!
S'up, y'all? I'm back home--have been for like two weeks--and have been watching the Olympics with rapt attention.1 At the same time, I've been prepping for AG's best upcoming release this year - One Melody Elizabeth Ellison, of Detroit, Michigan. Thanks to your generous donations and utter love, I'm ready to buy DeeDee's entire wardrobe!

But not DeeDee. Why not DeeDee?


Lemme rewind and catch y'all up. AG now has a rewards program - aptly named AG Rewards - and I signed up because hey, rewards for blowing cash on what I already blow all my little funds on, that sounds like a good thing. And, if you signed up before around the end of July or so, AG offered a preorder of DeeDee: Her, her dog Bo, her accessories, and her Floral Dress and hairset. Not much of a discount, but with free shipping and delivery on or before the 18th? I had to do it I had to. So that ate all my little gift cards that my Bae got for me for DeeDee purchases, which was what it was supposed to do anyways. I bought her the night I was back in Seattle and she shipped out on the 9th. And, after cussing out the post office for messing up the damn tracking, I got her Sunday! There's a whole photostory on my Instagram on her getting out and her and Edith already being crushy cute on each other - with a bonus "fucking hell can y'all not put her clothes on all your little white and light/Asian dolls the moment you got her I swear to fuck." She's the best. We are in love with DeeDee in the gang, Edith has her "Elizabeth," and hey mama welcome to the 60s! I'm still going to the launch party and taking lots of pictures with all my opinions on them. Also because I have to get all her clothes. Like all of them. All of them. I know there's stuff for others, thank you Pintrest leak, but August 26th - 28th is The Weekend of Melody and I will blog hella about her.

Speaking of weekends. Let's go back a month about.

So, if you've kept up with me on my social media some - that is, IG cause that's all my bitch ass does - you will know that last month, I went to Milwaukee to visit my mom and relatives. I was born in Milwaukee and a lot of my folk still live there, and my mom moved back both to help take care of family and to give my younger sister a stable place to deal with her life. This meant seeing my grandma, visiting my uncles (I only have two living uncles), lots of cousins...and being close enough to go to the Madison Children's Museum American Girl Sale. When I proposed the idea to my mom, she said sure - my mom enjoys new experiences, and she says that I'm probably her main child that takes her to new places she's never expected on the basis of "let's go to this!" So, after ordering tickets at the start of May and getting them, I headed out to Wisconsin, and my first weekend in town we loaded into the van and headed to MCM. This was my first time ever going to this, and I'd got pros and cons of the trip.

Before we talk about my experiences, though, let's go into the backdata on what MCM is and why it's a thing in the AG community. Under the cut for the history, useless pics, and some of what I got for me and the Mommish.

Just what is this farkakte thing anyways? The Madison Children's Museum American Girl Benefit Sale--MCM for short--is a major fundraiser for the local children's museum. Since 1987 - a year after AG came into being - AG has donated stock to the Museum, which is then offered to be purchased at a deep discount by the public. While this used to be returns and older items, resulting in a high chance for a lot of older retired items, nowadays they tend to focus on overstock more than olderstock, which means a lot of cheap ass dolls and stuff at rock bottom prices. There's also a charity auction where people can bid for things that are a lot harder to find now. 

The whole thing is staffed by volunteers who fix up dolls and sort through thousands of things. Then at a big warehouse in Madison, people can buy stuff. MCM is held over a two-day weekend in July thereabouts; this year was July 16th and 17th. Items are marked so they can't be returned to AG at full cost (or in some cases, repaired for free); it's essentially all the seconds and returns, and you're getting shit super cheap, so quit trying to screw AG over. This raises up to a million bucks for the children's museum. Yay, kids maybe learning shit.

The beneficiary of all this second hand shopping.2
 MCM doesn't ship to out of state or even online - it's only there, only one shot. So if you want to get shit, chances are you have to haul your happy ass all the way to the middle of Wisconsin itself and pick things up. Some folks in the fandom take this opportunity to buy dolls for other people; some people take this opportunity to buy gifts for kids for birthdays and holidays; some people are dick ass capitalists and turn right around and sell stuff on ebay, even though the fucking tickets say that you're not supposed to do that, and I would bitch more about that but it's how in a way I got Marisol, so.

There's also hella regulations. Each shopper may enter the sale just one time per their ticket; so when you go in, you stay there until you're ready to go, and once you walk out you don't get to go back in and buy more, so make sure you have all you're getting. So your precious children don't get trampled, no children ages three and under (including infants) will be admitted to the sale. Everyone going in has to have their own ticket, even your kids; no one just gets to come in openly, so yes even your six year old needs a ticket. Also, to stop some asshole going in and say, buying all the Grace Dolls,3 MCM does two things. First, they stagger people's entry times over the course of Saturday by ticket; on Sunday after a certain time, tickets are free. They also limit the amount of things that can be purchased by any one person - and that's by the person paying, not the people coming with. So don't think you can get away with bringing all your kids and overbuying the limits. Just like shopping at Goodwill, what's out on the tables is what's to buy; they won't hold shit back for anyone. Things are sold as is, and AG is not to be contacted about the sale because it's not them running the circus.

So let's get into my experience. Once we decided that we were going to the sale, I got three tickets, mostly because my younger sister was coming too even if she wasn't going to get anything.4 We got noon time entry tickets. After getting to Madison and taking the night in a hotel, my fam and I drove to the sale at about 11 a.m. and parked on the street, leaving my mom's dog comfortable in the van with water. We walked down the street to the warehouse. I got out my phone and took some pics; I decided that was easier than trying to, say, use my actual camera.

Walking towards chaos.
Along with the sale items in the warehouse, there were quite a few vendors out and about, selling their own AG stuff like clothes and furniture. I was respectful and didn't snap pictures in vendor booths. But I didn't need to. It - well, I'm a gigantic AG snob, clearly, because what I mostly saw felt like not worth my money. Yarnfug, GeneriDress, PVC Pipe furniture, tons of "look it's Frozen and Disney and the Brands The Kids Like" and basically nothing I couldn't make myself if I wanted to. I did see one set of clothes that held my attention for about ten minutes, but I ultimately passed it up just because I wanted to spend my money on AG. Even so, I knew I wasn't touching anything auction. Call me a butt, but I prefer not to try to get too hype about stuff that I might not get because I was outbid. But it was chill to look at. I also bought two large shopping bags to carry things because they don't give bags for free.

Some of what they had at the auction I snapped pics of:

Shoeless Addy in the Blue Dress of Three Names. When I looked she was at $85.

Rebecca's sideboard.

A whole table of AGs for Buy it now prices of $200. Left to right: A PC Sam, Marie Grace, Classic Addy, Kaya, Saige ChippyMayo, and Olly-Molly. Yeah, nah. That was like, a mad chunk of my entire budget for doll stuff.

Felicity's carriage, a palomino horse, and her riding outfit. I'm pretty sure this was already sitting at like $300 when I got there and I was not having that. Plus I would have just had to ship that fucker home. I have a complete enough Felicity collection.5

A bunch of Kailey items bundled together. Taking it back to the old school.

Elizabeth clothes.

Saige Bundle.

About the only thing I might have considered, a Josefina bundle, for the dishes. But, again, I didn't want to write down anything for an auction I might not win. Also it was pretty high as well.

Add 15 to this.
After milling about, my fam and I got into line for the noon group. There were delays - it's a warehouse, after all, and there were limits on the number of people in at a time. So we actually went in at 12:15.

We had goals - my main one was that I wanted to get Addy for my mom. Well, that fell through as soon as I got in; Addy had just sold out. Damn it. Ah well. They were out of her, Kit, Kaya, and Ellies. There were a bajillion Sams, though, and stacks of Julies and Becca. A decent amount of Josefinas.

What did they have a lot of? There was a whole fukking pallet and two of Wonderbread, who had a limit of four. Four! For about $100 each. To contrast, I could only get one Historical at all - not like, one Sam and one Josefina, ONE. It was ricockulous. Grace was there too, at $110, which was too much considering she had cost $115 anyways. Pass. There were also Bitty Babies and Bitty Twins, but my mom and I skipped over those.  My mom, being a doll collector herself, wanted like five dolls. I told her I would get her two, and I was only getting one for me.. Look, I was paying so I set a boundary, and my mom didn't argue. We got the three dolls, which was my budget, and a few books. No outfits, no accessories - we didn't see anything we liked. To be honest, we were there for dolls, and dolls we got.

After buying our swag, we went to the Children's Museum and paid to look around their doll collection and minis, and then went to the state capitol where I took weird selfies with my travel bunny, Odango. We got back to my mom's house, laid down, and I slept on the air mattress until the next morning with the dog on my head.

The Haul: 

Plus one. Mom already had Cecile.
My mom got #58, who she named Arzie after her aunt and my Great Aunt. She also got Josefina, who she has nicknamed Fina-Beena,6 Josefina's first BeForever book, and Cecile's first book.


And I got just the one doll: I got Cinnamon Peschel, my new #62 which was who I was there for anyways. I also got a four pack of the current activity cards with the moddies. Her outfit came off her soon as I could; I already had it, Mom didn't, and I like to give my mom stuff.

Pros: Cheap dolls. The experience of MCM. A whole hotel bed all to myself. The smug sense of superiority I get when I see a bunch of generidress and yarnfug on sale and know I can make things that look tons better. Got Cinnamon who I wanted the day I saw her pretty face when Truly Me launched. Got my mom dollies.

Cons: Didn't get the Addy for my mom, which was a downer, but my mom loves Josefina too. Wow that's a lot of Wonderbread. It was fucking hot, but gods, Jackie I don't control the weather!7 The annoying sense of inferiority I get when I see a bunch of generidress on sale and people are buying them because there's so much better. Wish I'd had more money.

My Advice: Go in with a goal, but be adaptable; unless you have one of the first ticket times, stuff may be out. Don't go over budget just because things are on sale. Tickets are assigned by postmark time, so send in your payment and application for tickets ASAP. I was a day delayed and dropped down to noon. Be okay in a crowd--there will be lots of crowds. Bring water, snacks, juices. Leave the smallest kids at home. Don't shop like you're in an AG store; shop like you're in Goodwill, and if you think you might want something, hold on to it until you decide 100% not to get it and only put it down then. Work within the AG shopping limits. Laugh at the ridiculous amounts of Wonderbread. Play Pokemon Go.

Overall? It was worth it! I'll be going every year I can. I don't know if Sunday is worth it; depending, we might go for Sunday next year, if things are open to it. Hopefully next time with a bit more funds saved. And a peek at WeelieWishers and other stuff.

And my mom's still getting Addy for Giftmas, if I can help it. I just have to hit up the 'Bay.


ETA: BethE has her recap of her experiences here: Madison Children's Museum Benefit

1 Black Girl Excellence all over Rio, man. Simone Biles. Simone Manuel. Ibtihaj Muhammad. The sweep of the 100m hurdles. Also, every four years I care about sports because every four years they show sports I actually give fucks to.  Ugh, why can't there be Olympic like sports on the TV all the time? Then I would care. Instead it's shit like football. Look, no one likes football, we all agree it's a shit sport, but there it is on the TV every fall like a hot steaming waste of time. I like track and field and gymnastics and water polo and diving. Cool shit. Like I would love to watch Gymnastics competitions aired. But nope, they air shit like "baseball" and "golf" and "boring" and that's why when people ask me if I'm into sports I say no.
2 Right before I went out of town, I bought a tiny promo bunny from my current video game love, Story of Seasons. Their name is Odango and they take pictures with me as I go around places.
3 Ah ha ha ha, let me tell you that that didn't happen.
4 Reasons.
5 No Gala Dress. Never Gala Dress. Reject Gala Dress.
6 If my mom who is in her 60s can pronounce Josefina with the Spanish J, so can the babies on IG. Don't gimme that "but I learned it wrong as a kid" shit. 
7 However I am sometimes way too witches and my spells hit harder than expected.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I added a link to this post to my own post about MCM.

  2. It's too bad Addy was sold out by the time you got it, but everything you did get looks awesome! And thanks for sharing so many photos of the sale - I'm always wondering about how these things go!

  3. Thanks for sharing your trip to the MCM sale. It's something I'll never be able to do, so it was fun to be able to share your experience. Congratulations on #62! She's my favorite non-historical doll. (What a good daughter you are, getting Addy for your Mom.)

  4. This is incredible how many things are there! : D Do you think you'll do a Book Blather of "Samantha Saves the Day"?

    1. I plan to do all the books in something akin to publishing/character release order.

  5. How much are Truly Me dolls?

    1. At the sale? They say yearly, and it varies.

  6. Hi! New follower here! My seven year old is into AG and, of course, I got sucked in, too. We only do historicals but I can say we're obsessed. I found you when I was looking up info on using Braid Sheen on AG hair. Let me tell you, it saved my $20 Molly's hair and saved me $50. Which bought more AG. We went to New Orleans this year with family on a vacation (Marie Grace and Cecile are next on the list) and it sucked bad. Can't cram my family in a small space for a week together. Anyways, we decided that next year we're going to Wisconsin alone! No one wants to go to Wisconsin because the only thing there is cheese. Bingo! Add in AG and it's right up our alley! We plan on going for the benefit sale. It'll be so much fun for her! I was gonna go to the Melody release, I'm so looking forward to her but floods did away with my extra funds. Alas, I'll have to wait and add her as a Christmas gift :) Anyways, I've read all your past posts and am looking forward to more.

  7. Fyi, elite gymnastics is on TV at minimum 3 times in non-Olympic years: American Cup in late Feb or early March; sometimes the Secret Classic in the early summer (other times it's livestreamed); US National Championships later in the summer, and World Championships in October. If you have a cable package that gets you BeIn you can sometimes find some other elite meets (they aired the Stuttgart World Cup earlier this year, for example), and a lot of meets that aren't televised in the US do have livestreams. Additionally, if you get ESPNU, the SEC Network, or the Pac 12 network, there are NCAA gym meets on literally EVERY WEEKEND from January through April.

    There is a thriving gymnastics fan community on Tumblr, and while I'm not giving out the name of my gym tumblr, if you wanna message me on my AG tumblr (fyeahamericangirl) I can give you some resources to stay abreast of so that you will know when meets are coming and how you can watch them, plus how to learn more about the sport. However, before you do this, be warned: IT IS A RABBIT HOLE AND YOU WILL NEVER GET YOUR LIFE BACK. Like, waking up at 2 AM to watch prelims of minor meets in Europe, using your sick days to stay home and watch Worlds live rather than waiting for the super pared down NBC broadcast kind of loss of control.

    1. Oooo, more gymnastics news! I'll definitely contact you there.


  8. Omg you are funny as hell. Saving your blog for my funny as hell go to "All things AG" 😂😂

  9. OMG "Fina-Beena" is the cutest name ever! xxxo @ Neth's Mom! <3

  10. Is that a cecile on the end from your haul? How much was she??

    1. That is a Cecile I got for my mother several years ago as her first AG.


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